-- Property & Casualty net earned premium growth is expected to average 6% to 8% for the full year. Earned premium growth is expected to be slower in early quarters and accelerate as the year progresses.
-- The Property & Casualty combined ratio is expected to range between 88% and 90% and includes $400 million for catastrophe-related losses for both insurance and reinsurance exposures.
-- Financial Services operating income is expected to decline approximately 15%.
-- Total investment income is expected to range between $1.45 billion and $1.5 billion. The Company's expectation is based upon estimated positive operating cash flow of approximately $4.0 billion and an expected increase in average portfolio yield to 5.0% over the course of the year.
-- Interest expense and preferred dividends are expected to be approximately $210 million.
-- Effective tax rate is expected to be between 22% and 24%.
The Company also announced that it will be filing a shelf registration in the near future. The shelf replaces the previous capacity used in connection with the October common stock offering. The Company has no plans for utilization of the new shelf at this time.
The ACE Group of Companies is a global leader in insurance and reinsurance serving a diverse group of clients. Headed by ACE Limited, a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, the ACE Group conducts its business on a worldwide basis with operating subsidiaries in more than 50 countries. Additional information can be found at: http://www.acelimited.com.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Any forward-looking statements made in this press release reflect the Company's current views with respect to future events and financial performance and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements. For example, the Company's forward-looking statements could be affected by competition, pricing and policy term trends, the levels of new and renewal business achieved, market acceptance, changes in demand, the frequency and severity of catastrophic events, actual loss experience, uncertainties in the loss reserving and claims settlement process, new theories of liability, judicial, legislative, regulatory and other governmental developments, litigation tactics and developments, investigation developments, the amount and timing of reinsurance recoverables, credit developments among reinsurers, changes in the cost or availability of reinsurance, market developments, rating agency action, possible terrorism or the outbreak and effects of war and economic, political, regulatory, insurance and reinsurance business conditions, as well as management's response to these factors, and other factors identified in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the dates on which they are made. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.